If you attend a networking meeting long enough, you might begin to feel like you are hanging out with friends or family. This isn’t a bad thing, you’re building relationships and solidifying the know, like & trust factor. However, you might find yourself becoming a little too casual for a business meeting. Here’s a list of the things NOT to do at a networking event.
WHAT NOT TO DO AT A NETWORKING EVENT
- Don’t Arrive Late: Come at least 10 minutes early! The magic happens before and after the meetings. You also send the message that you don’t value the time of others, and that’s never an impression you want to make.
- Don’t Sit Next to Your Best Friend: Always find someone new to sit next to. You are there to make new connections and build relationships.
- Don’t Come to a Meeting Unprepared: Make sure to bring plenty of business cards, a pen & paper, and your calendar to book heart to hearts.
- Don’t Do the Same Commercial Every Week: BORING!!! People will tune you out. Be exciting and switch up the commercials. Have 3 or 4 commercials that you can rotate through. Take a different aspect of your business each week.
- Don’t Come Under Dressed: Shorts, cutoffs, jeans with tears, muscle shirts, etc. are not appropriate for a business environment. What message are you sending about your business? You are a professional and you need to dress like one. Take a shower before you come and leave your gym clothes at home.
- Don’t Text or Take Calls During the Meeting: This sends the message that you’re not paying attention to others. When someone is speaking or giving a presentation, they deserve your undivided attention. If you have to answer an important call then keep your phone on vibrate and leave the room to take the call.
- Don’t Ignore the Person Speaking or Giving a Commercial: Keep your ears open and think about ways you can refer this person to other people that you know. This is part of building relationships and gaining the know, like and trust factor.
- Don’t Interrupt: Wait your turn to speak. Think of how you have felt in the past when others have interrupted you.
- Don’t Be a Card Spammer: Make sure to bring cards but don’t force your cards on others. They will just take it and throw it away. Business cards are expensive so hold on to them unless someone asks for it.
- Don’t Speak Poorly of Others: Even if you don’t like someone or the product they are promoting, keep it to yourself. When you speak poorly of others, you are only doing a disservice to yourself. People will think that if you speak about others then you will speak about them too in time. Remember what your mom taught you- If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all.
- Don’t Be Selfish: If you only go to a meeting to see what you can get, you’re going to come up short. Networking is about helping others. It is not about you! Give to others, help others and it will come back to you.
Did you see yourself here? Don’t worry, most of us have probably done at least one of these Don’ts in our networking careers. If you see yourself here, check out these things you SHOULD be doing at a networking meeting. Make an effort to do better next time and you’ll see an improvement in the number of connections you make each week!